Tortoise and Brett Naucke at The Bishop: Post Rock Legends Return to the Midwest

To know Tortoise is to love them. The Chicago based post rock band, in action in varying degrees since 1990, has been credited as the fathers of post rock, purveyors of a new progressive generation, deniers of mid-90’s indie rock convention, and a continually inventive musical force by music media for years, ever since the release of their 1994 eponymous LP. Now the Indianapolis area gets to have a taste of this highly influential experimental group on Saturday, June 26, when Tortoise comes to The Bishop in Bloomington, Indiana, bringing fellow Chicago experimentalist Brett Naucke with them.

Music video for “Salt the Skies” by Tortoise; Tortoise will be playing at The Bishop near Indianapolis with Brett Naucke this weekend


There’s nothing quite like Tortoise in the Indianapolis music scene. Sure, there are many Indianapolis bands that dabble in the stranger side of music (just look at Beta Male, Murder by Death, and Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s), but none quite as influential or polished as Tortoise. Tortoise’s first release, 1994’s Tortoise, saw a band utilizing bizarre instrumentation (two bass guitars and a three-man rotating percussion ensemble, replete with vibes, marimbas, and set drums) to a very unique effect, garnering praise from Indianapolis media and media around the United States. The follow up, 1996’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die, brought Tortoise into a full realization of their talent, spawning beautiful, rhythmically complex grooves layered with tons of background wash and lovely effects.

Video of Tortoise performing “I Set My Face to the Hillside” at Forecastle Fest; Tortoise will be playing at The Bishop near Indianapolis with Brett Naucke this weekend


Since Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Tortoise has continually been one of the poster children for their breed of layered math rock; countless bands across the country have claimed Tortoise as an influence, and you could claim that Tortoise had a hand in spawning the current wave of electronically based indie music. The group has collaborated with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bright Eyes; they have cross pollinated with several different genres in later records, including electronica and jazz. 2009 saw the release of Beacons of Ancestorship, which received favorable reviews all across the board. The Indianapolis event at The Bishop on Saturday should be completely sold out; Tortoise is something of a hometown hero in the Midwest, even as far away from their home town of Chicago as Indy is.

Video of Tortoise’s dual drummers performing live in Athens; Tortoise will be playing at The Bishop near Indianapolis with Brett Naucke this weekend


Tortoise alone would be enough to pack the Indianapolis bar, but the intimate Indianapolis area venue also has to hold the fans of Brett Naucke, a somewhat enigmatic musician who is also from Chicago. Naucke’s own music has been hard to track down, but he has been the mind behind Catholic Tapes, an ambient music “record label” of sorts, and he’s also played in various bands, including Face Worker and Druids of Huge. His music (and most of the music put out by Catholic Tapes, a roster that includes such artists as Oneohtrix Point Never, Fielded, and Face Plant) could probably best be defined as “experimental ambient,” utilizing lots of drone elements with synths, lazy percussion (when there’s any percussion at all), and dreamy soundscapes. Naucke will be the perfect introduction for Tortoise, a chance to get everyone into the mood of the evening and ready for the headlining act.

Video of Brett Naucke performing as Face Worker in Kentucky; Brett Naucke will be playing with Tortoise at The Bishop near Indianapolis this weekend


If it’s not already, Tortoise and Brett Naucke at The Bishop will probably be sold out before Saturday, so you should snatch up your tickets now if you can. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door; not much of a difference, but to ensure your Tortoise viewing pleasure, the advance tickets are the best way to go. Doors to The Bishop open at 8; plenty of time for you to get ready before the show and be in a state to slip into a blissed out music coma during the peaceful groovescapes of Tortoise and Brett Naucke. Tortoise doesn’t get out to Indianapolis music venues very often, so don’t miss this chance to see the fathers of experimental post rock live near the Circle City!

Tortoise and Brett Naucke at The Bishop
Saturday, June 26 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15 advance, $18 at the door

The Bishop
123 S Walnut St
Bloomington, IN 47404

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